Follow the Money: Financial Reasons for Outrageous Plot Twists
Viewers take TV and movie magic for granted, but when it comes to financing our favorite television and movie productions, things can get very complicated very quickly. Stars demand high salaries, and it’s expensive to create an entire fantasy world that only exists on screen. Having said that, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of the most shocking decisions in entertainment have been driven by money.
If money was no object, some of our favorite movies and TV shows would have more characters and a lot more really cool scenes filmed in incredible locations. In the history of entertainment, some financial decisions have improved productions, but others — not so much.
Bizarre Driving Decisions for Hulk
Producers for the Lou Ferrigno version of The Incredible Hulk were downright cheap. For inexplicable reasons, the TV series frequently included car chases. Instead of filming the chases themselves, producers made the financially driven decision to use footage from a Steven Spielberg TV movie named Duel.
Mighty Morphin — Super Sentai?
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an American cult classic. Plenty of '90s kids couldn’t get enough of the live-action, teenage superheroes, but those same '90s kids would probably be shocked to learn they weren’t the first to watch the Power Rangers.
Superman on Repeat
Television may be a big industry today, but back in the '50s, it was still a new-fangled idea that many people believed would eventually fail. That's why budgets for TV shows were super low. The Adventures of Superman was a hit, but it was a very bold undertaking for a production company on a shoestring budget.
If it wasn't for a shortage of money, we wouldn't have the glorious command to "Beam me up" as an iconic part of sci-fi movie history. When it comes to special effects, Star Trek has always been cutting edge. The set for the Enterprise starship was incredibly detailed and portrayed a believable, futuristic world.
Recycling the Pilot
If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again. The episode that was supposed to be the pilot for Xena: Warrior Princess didn’t air publicly as the first episode of the show. It was ultimately scrapped for a better idea.
Battle That Ended in a Single Punch
Game of Thrones is all about dramatic battles, but one of the most important battles in the book series of the same name was seriously downplayed on screen. The Battle of the Green Fork, where the Starks and the Lannisters have an all-out war, is a major plot point in the novel series.
Not a “Bad” Decision to Film in New Mexico
Breaking Bad wasn't always supposed to be set in the New Mexican desert. Originally, the show was supposed to be shot in Riverside, California, much closer to all the entertainment industry conveniences in L.A. and Hollywood. However, the state of New Mexico offered a 25% tax incentive for any production that filmed there.
One “Friday Night Light” Stopped Shining
For two full seasons, Santiago Herrera was one of the football players on Friday Night Lights. After being released from a juvenile detention center, Santiago moves in with Buddy Garrity, a former high school football star and a huge supporter of the Dillon Panthers.
A Strange Final Season and Stranger Finale
In the last season of Saved by the Bell, Jessie and Kelly disappeared, and a new girl named Tori popped up from out of nowhere. Even stranger, in the final episode, Jessie and Kelly came back for graduation, and Tori, who had become a regular, was mysteriously missing.
What's with That Ending?
Up until the last five minutes of the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is set in medieval times. The comedy was originally supposed to end with a big battle, but there wasn’t enough money in the film's budget to pull off the scene.
Color Movie with Black and White Scenes
If…. is a controversial movie directed by Lindsay Anderson that debuted in 1968. In fact, the content was so controversial the movie received an X rating, a British rating that only allowed adults to see it. The seedy depiction of British boarding school life is like Tom Brown's School Days on steroids.
Two Out of Three
The Lord of the Rings was first tackled as an animated film back in the 1970s, but there were some problems. The director, Ralph Bakshi, decided to use a special technique to both film and animate his adaptation of the classic novel series.
The Rocky Road to Rocky
Sylvester Stallone may have written Rocky, but United Artists’ executives wanted a famous actor to play the titular role. Because Stallone insisted on starring as Rocky, the film company only gave him half of the agreed-upon budget for the movie.
A Super Mario Meltdown
Super Mario Brothers put Nintendo on the map. It was one of the world's first best-selling video game franchises, so a Mario movie should have been very successful, right? Reality proved that no matter how famous characters may be, every film has a budget that could kill it.
Cheap Costumes Make the Most Money
The Horror of Party Beach is a horror musical. (Yes, that’s a thing.) Let's just say it received very little critical acclaim. During filming, there was a multiple motorcycle pile up on set, and the aftermath of that accident consumed much of the film's budget.
Tonto Lost a Few Friends
The Lone Ranger is a tale that has been tackled many times in movies and television series. When Disney set out to make the latest Lone Ranger movie with Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, it was predicted to be the start of the next big movie series. It turned out to be an extremely expensive flop.
Deadpool Was Supposed to Have More Superheroes
Deadpool may be considered a great movie — at least from a fan perspective — but this big-budget production still dealt with money problems. Wolverine and other X-Men were originally supposed to be featured in the movie, but there wasn’t enough money to pay for that many blockbuster stars.
Cleopatra Got Cut Short
The 1960’s version of Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton set records for being the most expensive movie made at that time. The film was shot in Egypt, London and Rome. Nearly 80 different sets and more than 25,000 costumes were handcrafted for the production.
Alderaan Gets Blown Up
In Star Wars, Princess Leia is supposed to be in jail on her home planet of Alderaan. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were supposed to travel to Alderaan to free her from prison. In the version of the movie that audiences saw, the entire planet of Alderaan gets blown up by the Death Star.
No Extras in Mad Max
Mad Max, and all of its video game and movie spinoffs, is known for taking place in a barren, post-apocalyptic world. This ongoing decision started back in the late '70s because the original Mad Max movie had such a small budget.
Attack of the Killer Product Placement
George Clooney wasn't always in blockbuster pics. He starred in Return of the Killer Tomatoes, for example. The goofy movie featured a joke scene that may have actually had a little truth to it. In the middle of the scene, the director yells cut and says the movie has to stop because the budget has been exceeded.
A One Take Movie
El Mariachi is a critically acclaimed early '90s action movie, but the film does have some awkward moments. After all, the entire movie had a $9,000 budget. To stay within the tight limit, director Robert Rodriguez shot the entire movie in one take per scene.
Final Frontier Leaves Much to the Imagination
William Shatner is known for greatness in the Star Trek franchise, but even he admitted that Star Trek: The Final Frontier wasn’t his best work. With its 1989 release, the movie was set to have some of the best special effects in franchise history.
Othello Ends in the Bath
Othello was a passion project for Orson Welles. With zero funding, he worked as an actor to pay for the production of the movie. It was even rumored that he stole some of the costumes from the movies he worked on as an actor to clothe the actors in his own movie.
Kill Bill 2 Could Have Been Even Longer
Sources who worked on Kill Bill 2 say that the movie was supposed to have a much more action-packed ending. Bill and The Bride were supposed to have a sword fight on the beach, but the Quentin Tarantino film had already had too many expensive fighting sequences.
Screech's Girlfriend Went to Beverly Hills
Remember when Screech had a girlfriend on Saved by the Bell? She was a nerdy girl named Violet Ann Bickerstaff who was played by Tori Spelling. When Violet was first introduced to Bayside High, Spelling was an up and coming actress.
No Cliffhanger for Hannibal
The NBC TV series Hannibal was very popular with audiences. Writers worked hard to create an enthralling story that could continue for many seasons. Unfortunately, just before filming the final episode in season three, they learned that it would be the last of the series.
Lost in a Cage
Lost is a polarizing show, but almost everyone can agree that there were definitely moments when the plot seemed to stall. For example, there was an arc when all the characters on the island were trapped in cages for several back-to-back episodes.
Star Trek Plays a Clip Compilation
The season finale of any show is usually the most exciting episode, and no special effects are spared. Because Star Trek was a renowned sci-fi franchise, fans had high expectations for the season two finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but financial concerns outweighed creativity during filming.
The Dead Don't Walk Very Far
Although the original series is over, The Walking Dead and all its spinoffs continue to be smash hits. In season two of the thriller, viewers may have noticed that things got a little stagnant. The storyline was still moving ahead at full speed, but the characters didn't seem to be going anywhere — literally.